Earth Week organizers are taking sustainability practices personallyBy Julia Morse
From greening your office to greening your apartment, Earth Week 2008 organizers will put sustainability in the spotlight at Chicago from Monday, April 21 through Friday, April 25.
“Environmental sustainability is something to be considered daily throughout the year, and Earth Week is an opportunity to show the University community and the community at large that it is possible and crucial to do act in a sustainable way,” said Zoé Vangelder, a College third-year and Co-Chair of the Sustainability Council. The council, a committee of faculty, staff and students, works to promote greater environmental awareness throughout the University and develop sustainable campus initiatives.
“This year, we’re really trying to include and address the whole of campus and community—staff, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as members of the greater community.”
Earth Week events will include Greening Your Office and Greening Your Apartment, which will teach and encourage people to bring sustainability practices into their daily routines and personal environments. “It’s much easier than people think,” Vangelder said, “It is entirely possible for individuals to create positive change by gradually making small adjustment to their lifestyles, whether it’s riding your bike to work once a week or bringing your lunch in a reusable Tupperware or getting your coffee with a reusable mug.”
Panel discussion topics will include “Sustainability and Institutional Change,” “Diet and the Environment” and “Issues in Urban Agriculture.” Other events will include the Tap Water Challenge and Vermiculture Workshops (worm composting).
Cass Sunstein, the Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School, Political Science and the College, will deliver the first of two keynote addresses at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 22 in the Law School, Room II. Jim Braun, who works with the Illinois Farmer-Consumer Coalition and Slow Food International, will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 24 in Harper Memorial Library.
“This is a very exciting time to be at Chicago,” Vangelder said. “There are increasing resources for environmental sustainability and a growing amount of interest from students, faculty and staff. I want people to take away from Earth Week the knowledge and belief that they personally can contribute to creating a more sustainable planet by engaging with their communities and with themselves about their environmental impact.”
A complete schedule of events for Earth Week 2008 is available at http://earthweek.uchicago.edu. All events are free and open to the public.